According to recent published reports, BioWorld Today’s research found more than 80 biotech companies cut about 5,000 jobs last year. So far this year, BioWorld has reported layoffs at 40 biotechs. A report from Burrill & Co. placed the numbers higher, estimating that 100 biotechs laid off more than 6,000 employees. Nonetheless, Burrill & Co. estimated the cuts at big pharma to be even deeper, estimating that some 25,000 people were let go.
This does not take into account the vast majority of biotechnology and medical device companies who are privately held and refuse to publicly disclose layoffs. These fears are driven by the current perception that cuts equate bad strategic decisions, inadequate development and commercialization choices and or poor financial planning.
BioWorld Today’s research also found that:
- Five (5) biotechs have initiated liquidation proceedings so far this year
- Eighteen (18) have avoided layoffs by scaling back operations, placing programs on hold, investigating strategic alternatives, spinning off an asset or taking similar actions to batten down the hatches.
- Several biotechs also have been tagged by their accountants as a “going concern” – indicating doubt about the company’s future prospects.
By the Numbers: The largest Layoff’s since January 2009:
- Sepracor Inc. (Marlborough, MA – based) – 530 positions
- Allergan Inc. (Irvine, CA – based) – 460 positions
- Oscient Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Waltham, MA – based) – 305 positions
- Elan Corp. plc (Dublin, Ireland-based) – 230 positions
- XOMA Ltd. (Berkeley, CA-based) -144 positions